Edwin Waugh.

Th' Barrel Organ online

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an' he drove whoam as fast as he could goo. In a minute or two th'
little lass went dancin' into th' parlour to owd Isaac an' hoo cried
out, 'Father, you must come here this minute! Th' weshin'-machine's
playin' th' Owd Hundred!' 'It's what?' cried Isaac, layin' his pipe
down. 'It's playin' th' Owd Hundred! It is, for sure! Oh, it's
beautiful! Come on!' An' hoo tugged at his lap to get him into th'
wesh-house. Then th' owd woman coom in, and hoo said, 'Isaac, whatever
i' the name o' fortin' hasto bin blunderin' and doin' again? Come thi
ways an' look at this machine thae's brought us. It caps me if yean
yowling divle'll do ony weshin'. Thae surely doesn't want to ha' thi
shirt set to music, doesto? We'n noise enough i' this hole beawt yon
startin' or skrikin'. Thae'll ha' th' house full o' fiddlers an'
doancers in a bit.' 'Well, well,' said Isaac, 'aw never yerd sich a tale
i' my life! Yo'n bother't me a good while about a piano; but if we'n
getten a weshin'-machine that plays church music, we're set up, wi' a
rattle! But aw'll come an' look at it.' An' away he went to th'
wesh-house, wi' th' little lass pooin' at him, like a kitlin' drawin' a
stone-cart. Th' owd woman followed him, grumblin' o' th' road, - 'Isaac,
this is what comes on tho stoppin' so lat' i'th town of a neet. There's
olez some blunderin' job or another. Aw lippen on tho happenin' a
sayrious mischoance, some o' these neets. I towd tho mony a time. But
thae tays no moor notis o' me nor if aw 're a milestone, or a turmit, or
summat. A mon o' thy years should have a bit o' sense.'

"'Well, well,' said Isaac, hobblin' off, 'do howd thi din, lass! I'll
go an' see what ails it. There's olez summat to keep one's spirits up,
as Ab o' Slender's said when he broke his leg.' But as soon as Isaac
see'd th' weshin'-machine, he brast eawt a-laughin', an' he sed: 'Hello!
Why, this is th' church organ! Who's brought it?' 'Robin o' Sceawter's.'
'It's just like him. Where's th' maunderin' foo gone to?' 'He's off
whoam.' 'Well,' said Isaac, 'let it stop where it is. There'll be
somebody after this i'th mornin'.' An' they had some rare fun th' next
day, afore they geet these things swapt to their gradely places.
However, th' last thing o' Saturday neet th' weshin'-machine wur brought
up fro th' clerk's, an' th' organ wur takken to th' chapel."

"Well, well," said th' owd woman; "they geet 'em reet at the end of
o', then?"

"Aye," said Skedlock; "but aw've noan done yet, Nanny."

"What, were'n they noan gradely sorted, then, at after o'?"

"Well," said Skedlock, "I'll tell yo.

"As I've yerd th' tale, this new organ wur tried for th' first time at
mornin' sarvice, th' next day. Dick-o'-Liddy's, th' bass singer, wur
pike't eawt to look after it, as he wur an' owd hond at music; an' th'
parson would ha' gan him a bit of a lesson, th' neet before, how to
manage it, like. But Dick reckon't that nobody'd no 'casion to larn him
nought belungin' sich like things as thoose. It wur a bonny come off if
a chap that had been a noted bass-singer five-and-forty year, an' could
tutor a claronet wi' ony mon i' Rosenda Forest, couldn't manage a
box-organ, - beawt bein' teyched wi' a parson. So they gav him th' keys,
and leet him have his own road. Well, o' Sunday forenoon, as soon as th'
first hymn wur gan out, Dick whisper't round to th' folk i'th
singin'-pew, 'Now for't! Mind yor hits! Aw 'm beawn to set it agate!'
An' then he went, an' wun th' organ up, an' it started a-playin'
'French;' an' th' singers followed, as weel as they could, in a slattery
sort of a way. But some on 'em didn't like it. They reckon't that they
made nought o' singin' to machinery. Well, when th' hymn wur done, th'
parson said, 'Let us pray,' an' down they went o' their knees. But just
as folk wur gettin' their e'en nicely shut, an' their faces weel hud i'
their hats, th' organ banged off again, wi' th' same tune. 'Hello!' said
Dick, jumpin' up, 'th' divle's oft again, bith mass!' Then he darted at
th' organ; an' he rooted about wi' th' keys, tryin' to stop it. But th'
owd lad wur i' sich a fluster, that istid o' stoppin' it, he swapped th'
barrel to another tune. That made him warse nor ever. Owd Thwittler
whisper'd to him, 'Thire, Dick; thae's shapt that nicely! Give it
another twirl, owd bird!' Well, Dick sweat, an' futter't about till he
swapped th' barrel again. An' then he looked round th' singin'-pew, as
helpless as a kittlin'; an' he said to th' singers, 'Whatever mun aw do,
folk?' an' tears coom into his e'en. 'Roll it o'er,' said Thwittler.
'Come here, then,' said Dick. So they roll't it o'er, as if they wanted
to teem th' music out on it, like ale oat of a pitcher. But the organ
yowlt on; and Dick went wur an' wur. 'Come here, yo singers,' said Dick,
'come here; let's sit us down on't! Here, Sarah; come, thee; thou'rt a
fat un!' An' they sit 'em down on it; but o' wur no use. Th' organ wur
reet ony end up; an' they couldn't smoor th' sound. At last Dick gav in;
an' he leant o'er th' front o' th' singin'-pew, wi' th' sweat runnin'
down his face; an' he sheawted across to th' parson, 'Aw cannot stop it!
I wish yo'd send somebry up.' Just then owd Pudge, th' bang-beggar, coom
runnin' into th' pew, an' he fot Dick a sous at back o' th' yed wi' his
pow, an' he said, 'Come here, Dick; thou'rt a foo. Tak howd; an' let's
carry it eawt.' Dick whisked round an' rubbed his yed, an' he said, 'Aw
say, Pudge, keep that pow to thisel', or else I'll send my shoon against
thoose ribbed stockin's o' thine.' But he went an' geet howd, an' him
an' Pudge carried it into th' chapel-yard, to play itsel' out i'th open
air. An' it yowlt o' th' way as they went, like a naughty lad bein'
turn't out of a reawm for cryin'. Th' parson waited till it wur gone;
an' then he went on wi' th' sarvice. When they set th' organ down i'th
chapel yard, owd Pudge wiped his for-yed, an' he said, 'By th' mass,
Dick, thae'll get th' bag for this job.' 'Whau, what for,' said Dick.
'Aw 've no skill of sich like squallin' boxes as this. If they'd taen my
advice, an' stick't to th' bass fiddle, aw could ha stopt that ony
minute. It has made me puff, carryin' that thing. I never once thought
that it 'd start again at after th' hymn wur done. Eh, I wur some mad!
If aw'd had a shool-full o' smo' coals i' my hond, aw'd hachuck't 'em
into't.... Yer, tho', how it's grindin' away just th' same as nought
wur. Aye, thae may weel play th' Owd Hundred, divvleskin. Thae's made a
funeral o' me this mornin'.... But, aw say, Pudge; th' next time at
there's aught o' this sort agate again, aw wish thae'd be as good as
keep that pow o' thine to thysel', wilto? Thae's raise't a nob at th'
back o' my yed th' size of a duck-egg; an' it'll be twice as big by
mornin'. How would yo like me to slap tho o' th' chops wi' a
stockin'-full o' slutch, some Sunday, when thae'rt swaggerin' at front
o' th' parson?'

"While they stood talkin' this way, one o'th singers coom runnin' out
o'th chapel bare yed, an' he shouted out 'Dick, thae'rt wanted, this
minute! Where's that pitch-pipe? We'n gated wrang twice o' ready! Come
in, wi' tho'!' 'By th' mass,' said Dick, dartin' back; 'I'd forgetten o'
about it. I'se never seen through this job, to my deein' day.' An' off
he ran, an' laft owd Pudge sit upo' th' organ, grinnin' at him....
That's a nice do, isn't it, Nanny?"

"Eh," said the old woman, "I never yerd sich a tale i' my life. But
thae's made part o' that out o' th' owd yed, Skedlock."

"Not a word," said he: "not a word. Yo han it as I had it, Nanny; as
near as I can tell."

"Well," replied she, "how did they go on at after that?"

"Well," said he, "I haven't time to stop to-neet, Nanny; I'll tell yo
some time else, I thought Jone would ha' bin here by now. He mun ha'
co'de at 'Th' Rompin' Kitlin'; but, I'll look in as I go by.'"

"I wish thou would, Skedlock. An' dunnot' go an' keep him, now; send
him forrud whoam."

"I will, Nanny - I dunnot want to stop, mysel'. Con yo lend me a

"Sure I can. Jenny, bring that lantron; an' leet it. It'll be two
hours afore th' moon rises. It's a fine neet, but it's dark."

When Jenny brought the lantern, I bade Nanny "Good night," and took
advantage of Owd Skedlock's convoy down the broken paths, to the high
road in the valley. There we parted; and I had a fine starlight walk to
"Th' Top o' th' Hoof," on that breezy October night.

After a quiet supper in "Owd Bob's" little parlour, I took a walk
round about the quaint farmstead, and through the grove upon the brow of
the hill. The full moon had risen in the cloudless sky; and the view of
the valley as I saw it from "Grant's Tower" that night, was a thing to
be remembered with delight for a man's lifetime.



Online LibraryEdwin WaughTh' Barrel Organ → online text (page 2 of 2)